Avoid charges by finding the best time to cancel. Check your terms and conditions.
Penalties are usually charged when you end a phone or internet plan early. Check your terms and conditions for early termination charges. These should be on the company's website. Talk to the company's customer services team, if they're unclear.
Early termination/cancellation fees may apply if you:
- agreed to a fixed-term plan and cancel before it ends, eg 10 months into a 12-month contract
- transfer to a cheaper plan with the same company.
How much you're charged depends on your terms and conditions. Factors may include:
- type of plan
- time left on plan
Ask if there's a fee to change from ADSL/VDSL to ultra fast broadband. Some providers add early termination and installation fees if you switch before your current plan ends.
Switching providers can cost you extra, whether you are on an open term or fixed plan.
- Fixed plan — cancellation fees if you end the plan early.
- Open term plan — overlapping bills, eg being charged a whole month for just a few days'/weeks' service.
For both kinds of plan, check the best time to cancel to avoid these fees.
Cancel an open term plan
Check how much notice you need to give before cancelling. Find this in your terms and conditions, or ask your provider.
It's best to cancel at the end of your billing period. Your billing period — or billing cycle — are the dates you're charged between, eg from 25 of one month to 24 of the next month. If you cancel mid-way through your billing period, you could be charged for a whole billing cycle, even if your connection ended part way through.
Example of when you might cancel:
- Notice period = 30 days
- Billing period = 25 of month to 24 of next month
- Best time to cancel = 24 of month
Example — Overlapping bills
Tama is moving house and wants to switch phone and internet providers. He calls his current provider to talk to them about cancelling his account. They explain his move is in the middle of his billing cycle. If he doesn't want to pay for an extra week he isn't using, he will need to cancel early and go without internet at his home for a week before the move. Otherwise, he will need to pay both providers for a short amount of time during the cross over of billing periods. Tama uses his internet to work from home. He decides to pay one week where he is paying both his old provider and his new provider.
Cancel a fixed-term plan
It's best to switch when your term ends.
If you contact your provider to cancel and still have a few weeks/days of your plan, they may be able to charge an early cancellation fee. Many won't, out of good will. But it pays to double check if they will do this.
If they are going to charge you, ask your provider the exact date your plan runs out. Tell them you'd like to be disconnected then.
If your plan's term has already ended, you may now be on an open term contract. These usually have a notice period. If this is the case, follow the advice for open term contracts above.
Discounts and freebies
Phone and internet providers may offer perks to get you on board, eg:
- money off your first bill
- a "free" modem or phone
- no installation fee.
You may be asked to pay these back if:
- you end your contract early — fixed-term plan
- cancel your contract before the offer period ends — open term contract.
Making a complaint
Speak to your provider first. Summarise the issue and what you would like them to do to fix it.
Telecommunications Dispute Resolution may be able to help if:
- you and your provider can't agree
- it has been more than six weeks since you complained and your issue still isn't resolved.
Making a complaint(external link) — Telecommunications Dispute Resolution